WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Mike Bost (R-IL) and Troy Nehls (R-TX) recently introduced H.R. 6064, which will improve the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) disability exam process for veterans who have experienced military sexual trauma (MST). It will require VA to partner with the National Academies to complete a comprehensive review of the MST disability exam process.
“VA estimates that approximately one in three veteran women and one in 50 veteran men have experienced military sexual trauma,” said Bost. “Following an oversight hearing just last week on MST, it’s clear that there are far too many gaps in the process for serving these veterans. Survivors of military sexual trauma deserve a supportive VA system that works for them. This bill will help Congress determine where the current disability exam process could be strengthened to better serve those who have survived this devastating trauma.”
The review would determine:
- The adequacy of Disability Benefits Questionnaires and the schedule of rating disabilities
- Whether certain conditions linked to MST should require referral for both a mental health and physical health examination.
- What credentialling and training are necessary for disability examiners to complete exams related to mental health conditions and physical health conditions linked to MST, such as sexual and pelvic dysfunction, musculoskeletal disabilities (e.g., neck injury), and cardiovascular conditions.
- The necessity of internal pelvic exams and alternatives if the veteran does not wish or cannot complete such exam.
H.R. 6064 would also require the VA to provide the House Veterans Affairs Committee and the Senate Veteran Affairs Committee with a report on any actions they plan to take because of findings and recommendations in the NASEM study.